[Void Galaxia] Chapter 39: Artificially Psychotic

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V

on the back of a neck, license plate

scalp off

spoon dipped in and

suplex yellow eyes

sub-neon

no sign of struggle or

Tenebrae shirt

on the floor

it’s okay, I’ve got the meds

don’t stop

stay

here with me short-term

Nightmare Castle

absorb Portuguese juntos

you can be my

Adjani screams collapsed in on the words.

Lights at the screen ahead. Blue dress woman bleeding milk and blood from all orifices. In a Metro with zero commuters, zero life, zero

Wait, I know this.

This filmn.

Isabella Adjani and the-

My eyes adjusted.

I did a full circle with my head, taking in the wine glasses on the floor, the non-moving fan on the ceiling, the projection screen putting out Possession.

Kuso, it wasn’t a dream, this was-

A sleeve appeared from my left, pulling me back down.

‘Lexi…’ I said, checking the doorway behind and almost falling off the couch when I saw the Mexican cannibal poet leaning against the frame, eyes glaring yellow.

‘Are you awake?’ she asked, in the strangest tone.

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When A Stranger Calls // David Kuhnlein

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Puffy from goodnight kisses, lit silver by dreams of the screen, your lips pucker in anticipation of my pillow. It’s my turn to talk and you’re hooked. Sex, the most exquisite poison, a toxin to twist both ends of the film. You know the rules. We’ve had enough of your surname. No lie could impregnate you (in the guise of killing ninety minutes together) to eclipse my eye. Still, I jump backward in ten-second intervals to before your tubal ligation. Cutting off my lids in appreciation isn’t inconsonant with reducing your innumerable voyeurs by going blind. Don’t turn up the lights. I want you strangled behind blackout curtains. Admitting this to someone whose body’s a work of art would strip me of the upper hand, and the pillow beneath it, as your eyes go pop.

Hair as curly as telephone cords, stinking like burnt plastic, your mind whirs into overdrive from mere pleasantries. Nothing but dial tone behind the eyes. I also hope to gush through life like a forgotten popsicle. The dead are most desirable woven as the wrinkles on your face. I pray an ambulance will find you recreating our kiss behind a dumpster. No one can see me because I was never born.

Like a good little final girl, you drag your balloon-like dungeon above. Call it heaven, superego, whatever sentiment I experience as your pistol-shaped persuasion. Between your grip and me, the equal and opposite reverberation of silence grants each ring its squeal. From this exterior shot, it’s hard to imagine your palpitations. How many cross fades till we’re codified inside our skull? Imagine the internment of overgrown eyelashes, blinking prison bars.

Your anticipation of my phone calls, the black hole you deliberately open by answering, marries my need to pathologize blood flow. How many finger joints will vanish? Will the wound be cavernous enough to pack?

Nightgown torn to thin strips, I twist the tourniquet around your disembodied arm instead. Voice like uncooked spaghetti, I breathe through the handheld: Nobody can hear me. I assume the bruise across your temple, the remainder of our ten-digit exchange, is indicative of a craving too sinister to solo. The only babysitter we’ll ever know is a scream so loud it casts a shadow. The shadow itself is difficult to confront, much more so than a stranger, and it’s always a stranger, on the phone.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 38: Milk On The Metro Walls

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Lexi opened one eye and mouthed foda at the box with MACA stamped on the side.

Warehousse?

Corridor floor?

Planet MACA??

It took a second eye to confirm that she wasn’t in any of those places, and then a quick backward scan to understand that Mark was tucked in behind, hand on her stomach, dick resting flaccid against the back of her thigh.

Ah, the store room.

Sofa bed.

She pushed off her share of the covers and sat up, looking at the door to the left. Then down at the floor, where their clothes were.

The connecting memory brought with it a sharp jab, forcing her hands up to both temples, grinding into the bone pocket.

Images of Mark on top of her screened inside.

Then her on top of him.

Swaying back and forth.

Hair clutching.

Inane dialogue.

‘Like that.’

‘I can see it going in.’

‘Where are the tissues?’

‘You should stay longer, move in with me.’

‘Is this sofa clean?’

‘What’s that mark on your knee?’

‘Foda foda foda foda foda…’

She reached down for her loyal Tenebrae t-shirt and put it on, then looked back at her new Japanese-Scouse lover. Boyfriend. Temporary sex partner. Ship in the shortest of nights.

Something in her brain told her it wasn’t right.

This isn’t really him.

This isn’t really you.

And she tried to push it away, throw it off a cliff, drown it in the sea, but it was insistent and when she pictured again the scenes from the night before, it wasn’t her playing the female role, it was someone else, someone with the same dark skin, a Brazilian model, speaking fluent Japanese, fluent Portuguese, fluent Slovene, fluent…

‘You getting up?’

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Gawp Kollontai

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gone is euphoric

her body destroyed by

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liar, his ship nowhere to be seen

co-optic redware

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if HE can dance to it

not a real leer

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but // BUT

façade of satisfaction at properly dressed Rei

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12 is her age

and that’s that

11 if she’s read Nin

10 if she feels 12

9 if

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she came

alongside carry that weight monologue

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bedraggled

shredded

Kool Killer bored

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in the midst of HER kitschiest witch sabbath

prayers

dark core for beach-a-thon ep

shoelace untied

schematics on knee-high desk

ceiling-eye bath shot

abject in the sense of

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 37: Grape Valentine

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Nas ultimas duas semanas, eu tenho lido sobre Carl Jung e sua teoria do inconsciente…’

Lexi followed the line with the tip of her pen, eyes narrowed, the rest of the video caffé a Man Ray haze.

‘In the last two weeks,’ she said quietly, ‘I have…lido…seen about Carl Jung and his theory of the incon-…unconscious.’

Putting pen to lips, she revised her translation.

Lido…lee-do…

Was that seen or read? Logically, it had to be one of them…you wouldn’t do anything else to a theory of someone except read or see it…or trash it…would you?

‘I think that guy wants a coffee,’ said Mark, from the other end of the counter.

‘What?’

‘You want me to serve him?’

Lexi put the pen down and looked over at the only booth with a live, human shape. Foda. One of the art students, a regular, in a green beanie that was seemingly glued to his head.

‘I’ll do it.’

She picked up the pad [and pen again], and went over. As usual, the guy ordered a caramel latte with zero sugar and then coughed, muito artificial, before asking if she’d ever tried the VR plaza across the road.

‘Once or twice.’

‘They have Pluto 2280 now…probably gonna give it a shot later, if you wanna co-op?’

‘Is that the sci-fi game?’

‘Yeah, sequel to Pluto 2270. Muito légal, muito hype. Heard they’ve jazzed it up a bit too…more missions, more crisis events. Huge-ass servers.’

Lexi flinched at the Portuguese then glanced over at Mark, who looked, for a brief moment, like a rabbit in a fox-run pool hall, before blinking himself out and scurrying back to his phone.

Okay, so he’s still looking, she thought, turning back to the customer. Even if he’s barely said a word to me all morning.

‘Sorry, I’m not really a big sci-fi person,’ she replied, adding the same sympathetic smile she used on the elderly.

‘Yeah, me neither. Just the newness factor mostly.’ He nodded to himself and looked left, at one of the GRAPE FEST stickers Juana had stamped on the table. ‘How about this grape thing? Any interest?’

‘Only if I’m cultivating a migraine…’

He tilted his head, eyes squinting at her neck as if that had the answer.

‘I mean, I’m not good with large crowds.’

‘Oh.’

Lexi tapped the pad with her pen and said, ‘caramel latte, coming up,’ then made her way back to her side of the counter. Surprisingly, Mark was there, sitting on the stool next to hers, going over her Portuguese notes.

‘Think I can actually read some of this…’

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The Devils // Nick Greer

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[Harvest Spoil]

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We come upon a town in the midst of a frenzy. Gaunt men, hands gnarled from a lifetime of labor, swing their scythes at smoke rising from a tyrannical fire in the town square. A handsome square, finely cobbled with troughs to carry waste to the outskirts. Women kneel at these channels as if they were pews, hands clasped around the gathering filth. They collect it in their smocks and convey it to the fire so they may fling handful after handful at the flames. Their children are nowhere to be found, replaced by dogs that bark savagely at the conflagration. 

The fire feeds on the skeleton of a stage, out of which three stakes pierce skywards, their offerings charred. The fire needs no tinder, but the men stoke it all the same, forking heaps of bedeviled grain, giving the smoke its woaden complexion. It rises in decadent folds up to the balconies overlooking the square. The homes of merchants and usurers, out to enjoy the afternoon’s entertainment. These patriarchs waft the smoke towards expectant faces, their nostrils luxuriating in it as if were from one of their resins imported from Anatolia. They indulge until their eyes flutter white, their daemons silenced while their wives and daughters are incensed by the odor. They claw at one another, ripping lacework and corsetry. A bodice peels away like armor, revealing the chastened buds of a middle daughter. The father, his peruke askew, leans over to lap at this milk while the mothers call for more, more.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 36: Maybe He’ll Take Me With Him

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Elise at a Mexican restaurrant in Budapest.

Jame and Tariq next to the impossibly blue Lake Pukaki.

Ah To pretending to understand what the Indonesian fortune teller is saying.

Her, on a Pluto Ya duvet, in fucking Fresno.

Throwing her phone [and friends’ pics] towards the end of her bed, Lexi got up and stood like a powered-down cyborg in the middle of the room.

Twenty past eight.

In an hour, she’d be standing in pretty much the same state in the video caffé, waiting for the next customer to wander in and order blueberry pie…all the curious parts of her brain switched off.

No, that wasn’t right.

She still had her phone. And Mark. If he wasn’t too hungover from the welcome to the churn drinks Juana had forced on them the night before.

When did they leave again?

Half two?

Ah, didn’t matter. She wasn’t feeling that rough so he wouldn’t either.

Changing her Relaxed Bear shirt for one of her five Tenebrae work tops, she went out into the living room and immediately collided with Eisen’s attempt at I’m planning to go to the supermarket in Japanese.

A flat mate who didn’t do language exchanges as soon as he woke up, she thought, as she swiped her Tenant Card in the kitchen slot, turned on the kettle and grabbed two slices of bread from the basket. That would be nice. One who could already speak another language…who wasn’t from Fresno…who’d travelled to other places around the world…and for some reason had decided to stop dead still and work in the same tedious…relatively tedious…video caffé as her. A Japanese-looking guy called Mark, who appeared constipated whenever she asked if he was Japanese.

The kettle boiled, making a rattling sound that sounded like the washing machine.

Yeah, the whole thing was quite strange.

But he did say he wasn’t staying forever…in No Agro Lounge, about eight hours earlier, with her hand parked on his knee. Gods, that was pretty overt. But appreciated too cos he never tried to push it off. In fact, far as she remembered, they’d sat next to each other all night.

Wah…maybe when he left again, he’d take her with him.

If she let him know that was an option.

Anywhere in the world, por favor.

Except LA.

And Poland.

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Things I Picked Up While Writing Planet Rasputin And Things That Sublimated Into The Oort Cloud Afterwards

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Ion drives take a while to get going.

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Fusion power is 20 years away

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Learning Twi as a second language is tougher than expected. Last time I checked, there wasn’t even a google translate option for it.

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Slovene has written translation on google, but no audio.

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All characters speak native Slovene in Planet Rasputin, so to get around my own lack of Slovene ability, I resorted to repetitive usage of ne vem [I don’t know] and ja [yes], as well as the occasional Slovene myth or idiom.

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Atomic Rockets is a godsend [pantheist version] though also very dense in certain places, especially when maths + equations step in.

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There could be thousands of dwarf planets out in the Kuiper Belt, still undiscovered. Maybe some big planets too. Planet XXX is currently predicted to be somewhere beyond Pluto, but closer in than Sedna. Predicted as in it should be there, some huge force is influencing the dwarf planets in that area, but has yet to be located.

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Rasputin was too busy fucking palace staff to care about Marxist-Leninism. And was already dead by the time it really got going.

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Did he fuck the Tsarina? Not sure. Could’ve been a bridge too far, risked his position too much.

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Not a lot in the way of Anarcho-Communist sci-fi out there. The Dispossessed was written in the 70’s and was it really anarchist/communist if it was published via a major press? It’s an argument I’m still unsure about. We have to live in the system we have been raised in, survive in it, but at a certain point of wealth or influence, shouldn’t there be a little bit more? An attempt to change the way things are currently done?

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I do not dream of having a Netflix adaptation. Do you?

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Just googled other anarchist sci-fi and what I get back is all mainstream stuff. A band of utopian anarchists fighting the system/evil regime/demon deer.

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Anarchist Library doesn’t have much sci-fi.

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How would a future anarchist system work? In Planet Rasputin I had to add a huge shot of absurdism to make it believable that, in 2114, Slovenia and Ghana and a bunch of other countries could function in a semi-anarcho-communist fashion [compromised, of course]. It’s transition that’s always the problem. How do we go from this virus of a system that covers most of the planet to something else? When everyone in power is either a psychopath, a dormant psychopath, a smiling psychopath or a rag doll? When enough of the adult population sees no problem with this? Or no way out of it? Or truly thinks that they themselves are also capitalists? What does the exit ramp look like and how far off into the horizon does it stretch?

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 35: Exiting Duckula’s Castle

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Jabbing all the buttons but

the lift had already started to ascend and

they were both on it, her hand cult-gripped in his

not love, but definitely fucking.

I pushed past random miners, a depressed radiation mage, industrial insurance reps, Kontolian peace reps, other reps, a flickering darts promo and leapt up the spiral stairs three at a time all the way to the upper level and

just as I was about to reach the hold lift button

the beast started to descend

Ryu’s hand around her arm, the slow creep to the side of her breast, and all I could do was run back down the stairs again.

He wouldn’t, he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t

slalomed through the neurons of whatever this mesh was inside my skull

but I knew he would

this version of Ryu, he definitely would

and when I jumped the last four steps down to the lift pad, they were gone, on foot, already two thirds of the way down a corridor, heading to the habitat ring,

heading to bed and

I ran as fast as my boots would go

almost colliding with a tentacle alien and another alien with green skin and another with a slightly ridged nose and another in robes who looked like an aristocratic grey lizard riffing on the Waugh meme and

even before I reached the corner, I knew it was no good

they were already in bed

on top of the covers

fingers inside each other and

I couldn’t bear seeing that right now, not in this scape, so I stopped sprinting and turned left through a door and slumped down by the wall, with the guy opposite telling me it was okay, he’d killed the other Keni, stabbed the wretch and buried his remains in a twelve foot hole by the docks in Kawasaki.

‘With a shovel?’ I asked, looking up and filtering in the tanned face of Yosh. Without a single second’s pause, I told him to go fuck himself.

‘Let’s get another coffee, talk about future plans,’ he continued, poking the call button seven times.

‘He’s with her right now, in bed.’

‘The way I see it, with your doppelganger gone…’

‘Probably talking about Anarchism…’

‘…we can start up the game exchange again.’

‘…between fucking.’

‘Just call up your brother and tell him to be more consistent with his scheduling.’

‘Yeah. He won’t even talk to me.’

‘Then we won’t have to do anything.’

‘Keeps running away.’

‘Just sit back and soak up the cash.’

‘With my Sadia doll.’

The waitress came over and, after a second of appearing Honduran, morphed into Lexi complete with Mpama-tone skin and Tenebrae t-shirt, and told Yosh she wouldn’t serve him.

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SÁTÁNTANGÓ // Matthew Kinlin

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SÁTÁNTANGÓ [OR A CASTLE MADE OF COW SHIT, OR THE COLLUSION OF PLANETS IN THE TOTAL ANNIHILATION OF LIFE]

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The circle encloses around us like a golden thread. The spider takes his time to weave a web. His weapon is invisibility. Everything beautiful in nature is suffocation.

[MRS. SCHMIDT LOWERS HER HEAD BENEATH THE TABLE IN THE BAR. SHE BREATHES IN THE SMELL OF DEAD EARTH.]

Two clocks on the wall show the wrong time. A portrait on the wall of a faded bureaucrat. Irimiás will have returned to the village by morning. The endless sound of rain. 

[MRS. SCHMIDT DRINKS A GLASS OF CHERRY LIQUOR ALONE AT THE TABLE. SHE CONTINUES TO STARE FORWARD.]

White smoke moving through the trees. A diagram of an alleyway between a dilapidated house and stable. A map of the planets on the wall. Their orbits circle each other.

[FUTAKI AND SCHMIDT PLAN TO SPLIT THE MONEY BEFORE THE RETURN OF IRIMIÁS. MRS. SCHMIDT PUSHES THE MONEY INTO HER BRA AND LEAVES FOR THE BAR.]

It won’t stop raining until spring. Winters are shorter in the south. There will come a time when there is nothing left to say. A fly moves across a faded newspaper. 

[MUSIC BEGINS TO PLAY. HALICS KEEPS TRYING TO DANCE WITH MRS. SCHMIDT. THE VILLAGERS ARE DRUNK AND HAPPY.]

We are unable to replicate the innocence of animals. A child is born sick and cruel. Humanity has to learn to love and it learns this from the animal.

[ESTIKE, A SMALL CHILD HOLDING A DEAD CAT, BEGS THE DOCTOR FOR HELP OUTSIDE THE BAR. THE DOCTOR FALLS INTO THE MUD, CURSING. ESTIKE RUNS AWAY.]

A child eats a handful of rat poison and smooths the creases of her dress. She tidies her hair and awaits the angels. Everything that happens is good.

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